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Flying with Arthur Godfrey (Part I)

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Flying with Arthur Godfrey (Part I)

Published 1953

TV host Arthur Godfrey takes controls of a passenger plane to demonstrate airline operations.

Run time 23:18
Producer Fairbanks (Jerry) Productions
Sponsor Eastern Air Lines
Audio/Visual Sd, C


Eastern Air Lines Aircraft (passenger) Airline operations Godfrey, Arthur Titles Aircraft (biplanes) Pilots Aircraft (historical) Aircraft (Spad) World War I (aviation) World War I (fighter planes) Dogfights Aircraft (crashes) Aircraft (Super Constellation) Merrill, Dick (pilot) Weather Maps Dispatchers Aircraft (flight decks) Instruments Controls Meters Compasses Altimeters Propellers Aircraft (ground control) Aircraft (taxiing) Aircraft (in flight) Runways Aircraft (takeoffs) Aircraft (landing gear) Aircraft (air-to-air shots) Cigarette smoking Aircraft (Silver Falcon) Flight attendants Aircraft (food service) Transportation Navigation Aircraft (landings) Aircraft (instrument flying) Airports Aircraft (light) Aircraft (DC-3) Aircraft (Lockheed F94-C) Aircraft (jet) Engines (jet) Daniels, Tommy (USAF pilot) Aircraft (Starfire) Supersonic flight Aircraft (military)


Reviewer: Dokes - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 4, 2011
Subject: Chesterfields
The part of this film I likes the best was when Godfrey lights up a Chesterfield cigarette. When you're flying, boating, or doing anything that brings a sense of satisfaction a good tobacco product makes things even more satisfying. I'll bet those Chesterfields were good back then. At 1950's quality and prices I'd have bought em not just by the carton but by the case.
Reviewer: Cap'n Billy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 8, 2007
Subject: Arthur Godfrey's Excellent Adventure
I just came across this account of Godfrey's flight, and was very interested as a retired TWA Captain who started his airline career in the same type aircraft (the "Connie") that was operated on this flight, albeit about 12 years after this was filmed. I flew them for about a year and ½ near the end of its service as a commercial airliner before moving on to jets. I was quite surprised to see that he was allowed to operate a passenger flight in this manner, but I guess a lot had changed between 1953 and 1965. By the time I started with my employer it would have been unthinkable for an entertainer, even one with his aviation background, to be allowed to check out as a Captain with any airline without "coming up through the ranks." Most of us had thousands of hours of military flight time in our logbooks when we started with the airlines, and still had to spend many years before finally getting into that left seat.

I remember well all the smoking that went on in the cockpits, since I was a non-smoker! In 1965 I was still one of a distinct minority, but more of my colleagues joined me every year, and by the mid-70s the smokers were the minorities. Smoking was still allowed on airliners in 1986 when I retired, but as we all know it was finally outlawed, at least on US flag carriers.

Thanks for this little bit of Dé jà Vu!
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2006
Subject: Making the Friendly Skies Even Friendlier (Though Not Smoke-Free)
Arthur Godfrey hosts this film, sponsored by Eastern Airlines, where he tells us that although broadcasting is his bread and butter, his real passion is flying airplanes. He tells us all about his flying history, and shows us some early planes, but the real meat of the film is an extended section of him piloting a routine Eastern Airlines domestic flight in a Lockheed Super-Constellation. This is actually quite interesting, as he goes into detail about how a commercial airline is piloted, how to navigate over water, and how pilots use instruments to guide them when the weather prevents a visual approach. Then he shows us one of the Air ForceâÂÂs latest jets, and an air force pilot does some stunts for us, as well as showing us what itâÂÂs like to be in a plane when the sound barrier is broken. The film ends with an Eastern Airlines bigwig accurately predicting that jets would soon take over commercial airline flights, and inaccurately predicting that the airlines would run helicopter shuttle services between downtown areas and airports. This is an engaging film that typifies the genre of the company feel-good film. Godfrey sweeps the viewer along on various flight adventures, while soft-selling the real message of the film, which is that commercial airline fight, at least as itâÂÂs done by Eastern, is completely safe, because nothing is left to chance. Godfrey is the perfect pitchman for this sort of thing, with all of his TV experience. In fact, his pitching goes into overdrive after awhile, causing him to plug Chesterfield cigarettes during the cruising stage (watching him and the other pilots smoke in the cockpit is a real hoot from todayâÂÂs perspective), and to plug Air Force recruitment after the jet sequence. Overall, this is a classic example of the industrial film genre.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: nilomi31 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 28, 2004
Subject: flying with Art
This docu/advertisement was truly a pleasure to watch. Although 51 years later this movie still covers some things that they still use everyday in commercial aviation. Arthur made understanding several aviation concepts very simple for the average person. The footage of old planes, particulary "the connie" was fantastic. I highly reccomend this movie for every aviation enthusiast. It was even pretty entertaining with bits of unintended humor thrown in for the modern veiwer.
Reviewer: Pithecanthropus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2004
Subject: Gives a closeup view of the Lockheed "Connie".
Excellent footage of the Lockheed Constellation, a long vanished classic airliner. However, I'd have liked to see something of the passenger cabin as well.
Reviewer: JJones - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 18, 2003
Subject: More than meets the Eye...
There is no doubt that Godfrey is very self-confident; I love his bragging about all the plaques on his wall!!! Seriously, I thought this would be specific to flying commercial prop planes. However, there is much time spent on flying preparation, e.g. weather analysis and mechanical checks. There is also some discussion of the coming commercial jet age - with illustrations and discussion of how jet engines work - pretty cool!!!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 19, 2003
Subject: Time For A Chesterfield!
Arthur Godfrey (See Classic Commercials volume 3) takes to the skies and teaches us (and um.. anyways) all the different knobs and controls of an airplane. Being an OBVIOUSLY proud pilot, he relishes every minute of this picture, which makes this plane orgy that much more interesting. After flying from New York to Miami (and having a smoke (the aformentioned Chesterfield) and a nap (!) he lands in Miami, and hooks up with some jet pilots which take him on a jet trip to demonstrate what was then newfangled jet technology. It all wraps up with Godfrey visiting the Eastern Airlines president and back slapping with him, telling us all about the future of plane travel (love the helicopter idea). This is a beautiful picture (as all Jerry Fairbanks pictures seem to be) and is quite interesting.
Reviewer: RadioBilly - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2003
Subject: The Old Red Head Rides Again
This was a great 2 part series. Arthur Godfrey, a man of many talents and accomplishments, demonstrates via this quasi documentary/Eastern Airlines promo, some absolute basics and refinements about flying an airplane in commercial service during the 1950's.

His plane of choice for this discourse, was the Lockheed Super Constellation or more affectionately known as a "Connie." Arthur deftly relates the technicalities of flying in the most simple and understandable way. This movie having as its star Arthur Godfrey, who was a television mainstay during the 1950's sponsored by Lipton Tea with his Talent Scouts TV program, also featured another famous celebrity of the twentieth century and that was Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. He was on par by reputation with Charles Lindberg and by accomplishments the greater of the two. It was a treat to get a glimpse of him along with Arthur.

Arthur Godfrey owned two planes as he indicates in this program. What may have been forgotten by now too is that shortly after this was produced in 1954 he got into a little trouble buzzing an airport control tower doing a stunt. It sure was big news back then.

Also of note is during the flight to Miami in this movie, he offers a Chesterfield cigarette to the flight crew with the co-pilot proclaiming he does not smoke but the flight engineer readily taking one. They light up and Arthur sits back in the pilots chair while at the cruising altitude of 22,000 feet and declares "This is the life." Several years later he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was passed over by several surgeons that had considered him inoperable. Godfrey was determined to live and sought for a surgeon whom he typified as having to be "one mean son of a bitch" who would be willing to take the risk to operate on him. He found such a doctor and lost a entire lung to cancer and survived to live to be an old man. As a result of his cancer, he from then on refused to advertise any product that could be harmful to people.

Arthur Godfrey finished out his entertainment career doing radio on the CBS radio network. He did a 2 hour morning show called "Godfrey and Friends" which was basically talking with other celebrities as they came and went out of the New York City CBS studios. The last show aired in early 1968. He was a very interesting man and a very independent one at that. He was probably unlikeable by most people who knew him. When he passed away, it was hardly noted in the media, even though he had been a television pioneer that had a following of millions. He would endear himself to the audience sometimes by playing the ukulele on the air. I guess it was one of his gimmicks but he had fun. Also he is famous for the "live on air" firing of staff singer Julius La Rosa during one of the Talent Scouts programs. Pretty wild!!!

Arthur was plugged in with and friends with Bill Paley and Frank Stanton who ran CBS. He also got his start on radio and I would like to mention one story that got him noticed and led eventually to his big break.

Back in the 20's radio was evolving and very often the announcers would have to create the commercials because the first advertisers did not provide copy to be read. Ever being an opportunist and trying to do his best to promote whatever it was he was pitching, he would rely upon his own devices sometimes.

Once he was told to advertise a ladies personal product, I forget exactly what it was, but he did the commercial in such a way that he claimed to feel a little embarrassed and flustered and if the women could see him, they would see how red faced he was. Well, that excited the women listeners so much so that they went out and bought up every one of the items he pitched because he intimated that it was something a woman could use that would get her husband aroused. He was a clever man. Very inventive.

I feel he used that same enthusiasm for getting a point across with his enthusiasm for flying. He really enjoyed doing this documentary and it shows. And in the end he even did a public service by flying in a military jet and telling Mom & Dad and the young men watching, to seek a career in the Air Force or Naval Air Service. Back then with the cold war developing it was difficult to get career based enlistees due to the poor wage scales and spartan life the military offered. Arthur told Mom & Dad that it was a good thing for their young men to consider and he told the young men to think about it. It was a very simple, honest and straight forward "looking one in the eye" approach and sincerely entreating them to give it a chance.

Great documentary. It dotted all the "i"'s and crossed all the "t"'s and was fine entertainment at the same time.
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